News / Science & Technology

UN: Global Warming Harms Corals Vital to Small Islands

FILE: A U.N. report says global warming threatens coral, such as this Gorgonian sea fan. Coral reefs buffer coastlines.
FILE: A U.N. report says global warming threatens coral, such as this Gorgonian sea fan. Coral reefs buffer coastlines.
Reuters
— Global warming is causing trillions of dollars of damage to coral reefs, aggravating the risks to tropical small island states as sea levels rise, according to a United Nations report released Thursday.
 
Sea levels off some western Pacific islands rose by four times the global average, with annual gains of 1.2 cms (0.5 inch) from 1993 to 2012, according to the U.N.’s Environment Program.
 
Release of the study, "Emerging Issues for Small Island Developmeng States, was timed to mark the U.N.'s World Environment Day on June 5. It came during U.N. climate change talks taking place June 4-15 in this western German city. 

Warming waters from the Indian Ocean to the Caribbean are damaging reefs by killing the tiny animals whose stony skeletons form them, the report said.
 
A toll on atolls

"These 52 nations, home to over 62 million people, emit less than 1 percent of global greenhouse gasses, yet they suffer disproportionately from the climate change that global emissions cause," said Achim Steiner, head of UNEP.
 
"Some islands could become uninhabitable and others are faced with the potential loss of their entire territories," the study said.

Loss of coral takes a costly economic toll, the report said. Coral reefs help protect coasts from storms, serve as nurseries for many types of fish and also attract tourists.

In Grenada, fishermen are reporting fewer and smaller "catches in areas where there once was a thriving trade," said Roland Bhola, the country's environment minister, who is participating in the talks.
 
"We have been able to associate that with the issues of climate change ... the destruction of our coral reefs and other ecosystems like mangroves,” he said.

Threatened ecosystems
 

A study last month estimated that each hectare (2.5 acres) of the world's coral reefs provided services worth $350,000 a year.
 
"Corals .. are probably the most threatened ecosystems on the planet," Robert Costanza, of the Australian National University and lead author of the study, told Reuters.
 
Some people on small islands are considering moving inland because rising sea levels are causing erosion and bringing more salt onto farmland, said Jacqueline McGlade, chief scientist of UNEP.
 
"But many of them don't have places to retreat towards," she said.

Greenhouse gases blamed
 
The U.N. panel of climate scientists in March said it is at least 95 percent probable that human emissions of greenhouse gases are the main cause of a rise in average world temperatures.
 
"Addressing climate change ... is absolutely vital to the survival of small island states," Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the U.N.’s Framework Convention on Climate Change, said at a news conference.
 
The report said small islands could shift to abundant solar and wind power to help cut fuel import bills, which are often between 5 and 20 percent of gross domestic product.
 
“We are doing what we can,” said Marshall Islands Environment Minister Tony de Brum, citing plans to invest in solar energy. His nation also has the world's largest shark sanctuary as part of efforts to protect nature, he added.

You May Like

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Mayuyu from: Nagasaki AKB
June 07, 2014 7:12 PM
Sea leve rise 1.2cms for about 10 years, and it means 12cms for 100 years. Go away from the sea side right now ! Big 12cms TSUNAMI is coming for 100 years!

This article means that kind of things.

But, , , Do you know sea level is up and down around 100cms in one day because of tide rising?


by: Stanley from: PIttsburgh, PA
June 07, 2014 4:07 PM
Amazing. They must be pretty sure taking CO2 out of the atmosphere will fix it. Or the change is coming. IE the cool off cycle has already begun. Take a gander at ocean temperatures provide by the "unbiased" EPA data. Amazed me they actually posted it.


by: Joe from: Paris, France
June 06, 2014 6:08 PM
It's called "tectonic plate shifting." The UN deliberately ignores the second most powerful force on Earth after gravity because well, they cannot tax the Earth.

Most of these islands are actually sinking due to shifting plates (subduction), the plate basically folds under and is melted back into the Earth; rather than the sea level rising due to global warming. Just look on a plate map.


by: floyd howard jr from: Foley Al. USA
June 06, 2014 10:04 AM
Dems are trying to legislate a narrative change hurting the American people in the process! All Democrats and supporters here and abroad, are trying to flood the media with hysterical climate change & global warming alarms to take the heat off Dem candidates in the November 2014 and 2016 elections due to the train wreck of Obamacare! They shout, scream, cry, make outlandish claims and won't stop till after the elections! Poor Democrats! The tsunami cometh!


by: GuyBB from: KCMO
June 06, 2014 8:30 AM
Climate change is indeed a problem for small islands. Simply because the climate is always changing. However, the change to the name of AGW to climate change, is an incideous, and pernicious assault on truth. None of the coral reefs in existence today where alive 12,000 years ago, simply because during the Ice Age, they were hundreds of feet above sea level.

What they really mean when they say "climate change" is not the known fact, that climate is always changing, but rather the implication that it is in fact climate changed by man. Worse? These idiots have no schedule for their fearmongering, because every time they have given a timetable, they've been WRONG!

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid